Published November 14. 2012 4:00AM
Montville - Imagine: Working since August to reach this point in the season … and all for the privilege of needing the coronary care unit an alarming number of times.
Seriously. Montville and Ledyard, two conference rivals, had this game seemingly won and lost several times Tuesday night. Crossbars, posts, missed opportunities, own goals, big saves, big plays.
Exactly, you figure what the state quarterfinals should produce.
Finally, a little more than three minutes into overtime, Connor Leeman, who missed from the doorstep late in regulation, converted a rebound and sent the Indians into their third straight state boys' soccer semifinals.
Montville 3, Ledyard 2.
The third-seeded Indians (19-1), who set the program record Tuesday for most wins in a season, will play No. 2 Suffield in the Class M semifinals Friday or Saturday at a site and time to be determined today. Suffield is the reigning champion.
"You need a little bit of luck in this tournament sometimes," Montville coach Colin Delaney said.
Delaney's team led 2-0 10 minutes into the game, but was left to gasp late in the second half when Leeman missed an open net. That's just before Ledyard's Anthony Saccone did the same.
Even after Leeman's goal in overtime gave Montville the lead, goalkeeper Jake Sorenson had to make several saves, one of which drew a bear hug from Leeman, illustrating its significance.
"It's one of the gutsiest performances I've seen from a team," Ledyard coach Bill Glenney said of the Colonels. "To come in here in a hostile environment and go down 2-0 … at the 15-minute mark I was worried how I was going to keep this from turning into a blowout. Something clicked 20 minutes in. I honestly thought for the next 60 minutes, we took it to them."
That was evidenced through Ben Bruciati's goal late in the first half and Saccone's 25-yard dart that tied it with 21:48 remaining.
"Ledyard is a lot like us. A blue-collar team," Delaney said. "Billy coaches those boys up a little bit."
Leeman's game winner came after teammate Jeff Tryon fell on a rebound. Glenney believes it was a hand ball.
"(Tryon) was laying on top of it. With the ball on his chest, he was literally trapping it," Glenney said. "He stood up and it rolled out from underneath him. He trapped it with his arm. It was clear as day. It's one of the missed calls today. What can you do? They happen. You have to live with them. We were the beneficiary of a few calls that went our way, as well."
Leeman said, "Jeff did a good job of getting his body on the ball. He stopped in the middle of the box and I was able to put it on the frame. It wasn't a hand ball. It hit his legs and then he fell."
Josh Handler and an own goal gave Montville a 2-0 lead.
Sorenson made seven saves for the Indians and Jason Smith made 11 for Ledyard.